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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005, 16:41 GMT
'Baby looters' accuser in court
Bangladeshi babies accused of looting
The infants were bailed at $50 per child
A man who accused four infants of looting and criminal damage has appeared in Bangladesh's High Court.

He and three police officers who investigated the case now have three weeks to demonstrate that prosecution of the children was lawful.

If they are unable to provide a satisfactory explanation, they could face criminal charges.

The case has highlighted the widespread practice of harassing people by making false accusations.

Four police officers have been suspended for negligence in the case and an inquiry has been ordered.

The infants, who appeared in their parents' arms on Monday, were bailed at $50 per child.

The police deputy commissioner of the southern city of Chittagong, had said there would be an inquiry into a case that appeared "false and fabricated".

"The plaintiff will face punishment if the case proves false," he said.

The infants, whose ages range from three months to two years, are all members of an extended family.

They were among 11 people accused by a neighbour of looting and causing criminal damage over an alleged land dispute.

One of the other named defendants was a dead man.

The BBC's Bangladesh correspondent Roland Buerk says anyone can file a criminal case and it is a popular method of harassment.

The police and lower courts are plagued by corruption and some false prosecutions drag on for years, he adds.



SEE ALSO:
Court halts 'baby looter' trial
02 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Four babies and a criminal trial
01 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Country profile: Bangladesh
04 Jan 05 |  Country profiles


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